By my best count, it has been more than 13 years since I adopted my beloved Spire Meta backpack as the best way to tote my tech (and more). Even now, though showing a bit of wear, it is completely intact, with not a broken zipper or popped stitch anywhere. Sure, a few signs of age and hard wear here and there, but still way more than usable.
However, times and needs change, and I’ve started looking for a new pack, one with more dedicated pockets and some features that I see being added to newer models. Packs can be expensive to buy, and are something you’re going to live with every single day, so a more than average amount of research is in order. Unfortunately, it is all but impossible to see a decent selection anywhere in person, so I’m looking for experiences, recommendations and input.
What I carry
The items that tend to reside permanently in my pack for day-to-day activities include:
- A 15″ MacBook Pro Retina
- Power Brick for said MacBook Pro
- A full-size iPad in a ZooGue Genius case
- Power brick for said iPad
- Lumix point-and-shoot camera in a small padded case
- Battery charger for the Lumix (a small plastic device about the size of a pack of cigarettes)
- Sync cables and video adapters for all devices
- Two to three external USB hard drives
- A Monoprice external battery to act as emergency power supply for iPhone and iPad
- Misc. thumb drives
- Note pad
When I hit the plane or train, add to that:
- Noise canceling headphones in hard-shell case
- Light jacket
Since the pack goes with me whether I’m going casual or in a suit, it needs to have a professional appearance i.e. no significantly bright colors, minimal hanging straps. Black is always best
I seldom, but occasionally, hang the bag from my left shoulder, so the straps need to be adjustable and well-padded.
- Lots of pockets to keep all those cables and adapters separate
- Suspension system to keep the laptop and/or iPad from hitting the floor when I put the bag down. (Too many packs pad front and back, but not the bottom, so your hardware can come in for a crash landing.)
- Glasses pocket that is crush-resistant or crush-proof
These are the bags that I’ve been seriously looking at, but am wide open to suggestions, so don’t hold back.
These two bags are very similar, so I need to look at both in person Lots of pockets in these, but the straps seem a little thin, especially for a lengthy trek between airport terminals.
I saw this bag at CES in Las Vegas and talked to the Ogio folks about it (MacVoices #1314). It meets many of my requirements, but is a little on the expensive side. It is also a little heavy because of all that padding.
I’ve had the STM model that is now discontinued for some time and really like it as a secondary, special use pack. Great quality, great durability, but just not enough separate pockets to make it an ideal choice. The Jet strikes me as just a little small for my needs.
What do you think?
If you have thoughts on any of the above or other recommendations, please leave a comment below, drop me an email at chuck-at-macvoices.com or hit me up on Twitter, App.net or Google+. (OK, OK, Facebook if you absolutely must).
Thanks for your help!